Gift Endows Flynn Prize at USC School of Social Work

For Lloyd Sun, meeting Marilyn Flynn, dean of the USC School of Social Work, changed the way he now looks at the world.

As chairman of Maxwell College in Arcadia, Calif., Sun understands the value of education. But the businessman had never given social work as a profession and area of research a second thought until Flynn showed him how far-reaching and significant social work’s influence could be, domestically and internationally.

That’s why Sun, who is currently consulting on the development of the School of Social Work’s relationship with Chongqing University and other institutions in China, decided to inaugurate an endowment fund for the school’s Flynn Prize for Research with a $100,000 gift.

“I hope to get more people interested in social work and contribute to the prize,” Sun said. “I want to make social work more well-known.”

The Flynn Prize for Research is an internationally competitive prize that recognizes a scholar whose interdisciplinary research has achieved high social impact and a demonstrable change in the lives of vulnerable populations. It comes with a gold medallion and a $20,000 honorarium.

By supporting this research-focused prize, Sun hopes that more people, especially those in his native China, will begin to understand the importance of the profession and how social workers contribute to the well-being of vulnerable populations both through practice and research. He said that he would like to see a social work master’s degree program at a Chinese university specifically designed for developing countries.

“It’s about what you are going to leave behind,” he said. “I hope this contribution impacts lots of people.”

Past winners of the Flynn Prize include Fred Wulczyn, director of the Center for State Foster Care and Adoption Data at the University of Chicago and a pioneer in the analysis of electronic records to better understand the experiences of children and families in the child welfare system. He has focused his work on defining social problems, developing social policy and assessing the impact of public investments to improve the lives of vulnerable children. The Flynn Prize also went to J. David Hawkins, the Endowed Professor of Prevention and founding director of the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington School of Social Work, who has studied the development of positive and problem behaviors among adolescents and young adults with a longitudinal study spanning three decades.

“Lloyd Sun has given the USC School of Social Work an enduring opportunity to honor those scientific and scholarly accomplishments in our profession that transform society and promote human welfare,” Dean Flynn said. “I am so grateful to him for this important and historic gift.”

The Flynn Prize was established by James Flynn in 1999.